Activities, News

Migrant workers in Cornwall

PagesMigrant workers in CornwallPhoto by Tom Pilston

We’re just starting work again with migrant workers and local communities in Cornwall, alongside Inclusion Cornwall at Cornwall Council and the Diocese of Truro’s social responsibility officer Andrew Yates.  Our project is called I Packed This Myself.

Every year, thousands of workers from overseas come to Cornwall to work on the land. These workers can face hostility and resentment. In rural Cornwall, due to expensive local housing, agricultural workers often live in caravans. They can have little contact with local people who lack the opportunity to meet them.  They can face prejudice and misunderstanding – though they are doing important work.

Many others work in different sectors of the economy – care homes, hospitality, the fishing industry and hospitals.

I Packed This Myself aims to throw a spotlight on the important work that they do.  Over the next two years we’ll  be rolling out  workshops in schools and churches  – with students, community groups and employers. We’ll be creating a touring exhibition. We’re producing a range of materials for use in the workshops – plus ‘Survival Phrases’ language postcards in Lithuanian, Polish, Arabic, Portuguese, Romanian and Bulgarian.

Ten years ago, we created a touring exhibition of suitcases – and ran workshops in schools.  Click here to read an evaluation. To view a web gallery featured in the Guardian in 2009 of a show in Camborne, Cornwall, click here. The project was showcased by the then Commission for Rural Communities as a national example of good practice – its original title was Let’s Talk.  Various funders – including the Migration Impacts Fund through Communities and Local Government – have supported this work.

In the meantime, if you missed all the things we did at the start of this project, here are just a few highlights:

Workshops at Camborne School

An exhibition at Penair School with a film made by migrant workers

A workshop at Helston School

Ten workshops in a day at Torpoint School

A touring suitcase exhibition

Our original resources included a pack for teachers:  I PACKED THIS MYSELF EDUCATION PACK.  To read our original Guide for Group Leaders, click here.